NOT YOUR AVERAGE TRAVEL BLOG

Welcome to The Fairytale Traveler!

Christa Thompson 2013

That’s me!

THIS IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE TRAVEL BLOG…Hi! I’m Christa Thompson, creator of The Fairytale Traveler. I am no ordinary travel blogger, and you are no ordinary person if you’ve arrived here. So, welcome to my travel blog… the only travel destinations resource for all places related to legend, myth and lore. If you’re looking for the best places to travel, off the beaten path, to an enchanting experience, then you’re in the right place.

I’m exploring everything from castles to headstones, from the forests to the seas, and places where legends of monsters and princesses hundreds of years past are still told. I invite you to follow me on my adventure travel journey to where folklore, legend and mythology come to life, in every beautiful, and every dark corner of this world. Are you with me?

This is not all glitter and unicorns

Prepare to be enchanted…

Castle Hotels, 9 of Germany’s Most Romantic Castles

Fairy Tale Romance…

Castle Hotels in Germany’s most romantic regions

Castle Hotels

Germany is home to some of the world’s most romantic castle hotels. Having lent its landscape of dark forests, rolling emerald hills, and sleepy valleys to the fairy tales we have grown with, you might be inclined to think of regions like Bavaria and Hesse as “Ever After”. The “Fairytale Route” and “Romantic Road” highlight centuries of Germanic folklore and Renaissance history -a history that has left a footprint of medieval times, echoing legends of monsters, knights and princesses…and maybe even a prince charming. Here are 9 of Germany’s most romantic castle hotels. Continue reading

Fairy Sites, 3 Magical Places to Visit in Cumbria, UK

Keeping legends alive…

The most beautiful race of creatures the eye ever beheld

Fairy Sites

Photo by Wikimedia Commons, the Saltom Pit Mine in ruins on the Whitehaven coast with Fairy Rock in the back. Photo by Alan Cleaver

There are fairy sites documented all over the world. It is something that makes my job as the Fairytale Traveler a bit overwhelming at times. There are stories, especially in Irish folklore and mythology, that date back to times long before written legends. So, in an effort to source these fantastic places, and to uncover the enchanting legends that may not make it off their salty shores, I have started a list of fairy sites. This one takes us to Cumbria, a region in England that is teeming with fairy legends. From it’s rolling hills to its crashing sea, and all of the sprawling forests and lakes between, Cumbria is the fabric of fairy folklore in the U.K.. Here are 3 sites in the many, that you can visit when in Cumbria, UK. Continue reading

The Dwarves of Simonside Hills, Northcumberland, UK

Hikers beware…

The dwarves come out at night

Dwarves in Simonside Hills

License Copyright All rights reserved by colin9007

Legends of the malevolent dwarves of the Simonside Hills in the Northcumberland region are that of dark and mischievous pests that attack innocent travelers in the night. Continue reading

The Monastic Settlement of Glendalough Co Wicklow, Ireland

A Tour of Legends 2…

Written Irish legends born at the Monastic Settlement of Glendalough

Glencree valley while driving through the Wicklow Mountains on the way to the Sally Gap by Christa Thompson

Glencree valley while driving through the Wicklow Mountains on the way to the Sally Gap by Christa Thompson

Glendalough, meaning “the glen of two lakes”, is probably one of the most important locations in Ireland with relation to legend, myth and lore. It is there, at the Monastic Settlement of Glendalough where, the earliest known written Irish stories that survive were transcribed. Continue reading

The Book of Kells at Trinity College, Dublin

Ireland’s finest national Treasure…

The Long Library and the Book of Kells Exhibit in Dublin by Christa Thompson

The Long Room and the Book of Kells Exhibit in Dublin by Christa Thompson

During my recent visit to Dublin, Ireland I was able to make my way over to the Old Library at Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells Exhibit. Continue reading

Fairytale Places, the Castle Hotel and Spa in Tarrytown, NY

A place for princesses…

And perhaps a prince or two

Princess pink roses surround the center fountain in front of the Castle, photo by Christa Thompson

Princess pink roses surround the center fountain in front of the Castle, photo by Christa Thompson

If you’re looking for fairy tales, class, and hospitality fit for a king then search no more. Tarrytown, New York’s Castle Hotel & Spa is ground zero at the dream factory.

Picture yourself in a land far, far away, a land set high above hills with winding roads and the pinkest roses you’ve ever seen. Now picture this land just a half hour outside of Manhattan, NY.

During my trip to Sleepy Hollow, NY I was able to make my way over to this magnificent American castle that sits high above the Hudson Valley with over 100 years of history. The grounds are flawless, even in late October the lawn is as green as emeralds -a blanket for the Continue reading

Fairytale Days at Dromoland Castle Hotel Co Clare, Ireland

Where fairytale meets reality

Dromoland Castle Hotel, Co Clare

Dromoland Castle Hotel

Dromoland Castle Hotel is steeped in history going as far back to the 5th Century when it was originally the ancestral home of Gaelic Royalty; direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland.

Dromoland Castle Hotel may be one of the grandest castle hotels I have ever been to. You can imagine, as the Fairytale Traveler I have seen a castle hotel or two. If one word could describe this stunning fortress situated upon a blanket of emerald-green grass, it would have to be “fairytale”. From the moment you enter the gates and drive along the winding path to the commanding Dromoland Castle Hotel, you can’t help but say, “WOW!” The structure itself is quite large and envelopes a courtyard with valet circle where you are met like royalty by the porter. The entrance into the castle is smaller than a large luxury property, making you feel right at home in your new luxurious digs. Continue reading

5 Enchanting Trips Steeped in Legends Along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

The Wild Atlantic Way

Breathtaking Landscapes with Enchanting Legends

Connemara Wild Atlantic Way

Driving along the Wild Atlantic Way in the Connemara region. Here the mountain peaks are many and the valleys are deep. This coastal road hugs craggy cliffs and sandy shores, and it never gets old.

When I went to Ireland for the first time I was surprised, utterly shocked at the notion that, every local I asked about Irish Legends offered a vague retelling of a random ambiguous place. The only direction I was getting was the one leading me to our next pint. I was so frustrated! How in the world was I finding it so difficult to pinpoint places related to Irish legends when Ireland is exploding with them? Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day Musings of the Wandering Jameson Bottle

24 Hours in Dublin

A Photo Journal on the Eve of St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin

St. Patrick's Day Dublin

In Temple Bar

An artist couldn’t have painted a prettier picture of Dublin from the rooftop of the Marker Hotel. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and in the distance I could see the shades of green from the Wicklow Mountains owning the horizon. I stood taking it in and enjoying my Irish coffee among forty-something other journalists, writers, bloggers, and other media aficionados on the weekend of Ireland’s national holiday – St. Patrick’s Day. Continue reading

The Best of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin 2014

Behind the scenes and the big event

A Photo Journal of the Most Enchanting Parade in the World

St. Patrick's Day Dublin

This is the best day of my life, I have never been so happy before!”

These were the words that I heard from Spain’s Vero4Travel, international press correspondent, Jesús Martínez, as we stood there snapping photos of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin. Standing there we had no idea what to expect from the home of one of the world’s most celebrated holidays. As it unraveled before our eyes, it had become apparent that this was the most interesting, cultural, and artistic parade we had ever seen. With this year kicking off a three-year theme of Past, Present and Future, the 2014 St. Patrick’s Festival Parade was teeming with Irish history, legends, and folklore. Continue reading

Shamrocks are Not Lucky and St. Patrick is Not Irish

St. Patrick's Day Festival

So what is St. Patrick’s Day all about anyway?

There’s more to St. Patrick’s day than green beer and hangovers. In fact, the celebration of St. Patrick has been observed for over 1,000 years! The origins of the stick on orange beard and leprechaun hat may actually surprise you, and wouldn’t you know there’s a legend behind all of it. Continue reading

TBEX the Do’s, Don’ts and the T-Shirt on Standing Out

Kicking ass and taking names…

TBEX is full of opportunity if you just play your cards right

Chris Williams of Real Man Travels and myself at the TBEX Expedia Party in Dublin, Ireland

Chris Williams of Real Man Travels and myself at the TBEX Expedia Party in Dublin, Ireland

Hold on, first things first, what an amazing TBEX! Failte Ireland and TBEX came together to create one (if not the) most memorable TBEX experiences ever! A huge thank you for all of the HARD work you put into making this event so special. Well done. Continue reading

Introducing the Little Fairytale Traveler

From bedtime stories to real life adventures

Fairytale Travel from the Window Seat of a Five Year Old

 

The Little Fairytale Traveler

Drooling over the comic book mecca at Orlando’s Universal Studios.

I started this journey for one reason. Not to make money. Not to travel for free. Not for the perks (although the perks never hurt). I started this journey to enrich my little boy’s life with culture, heritage, and the idea that if you hold on to what you are truly passionate about, you really can be a part of it, and make it your life’s work. I wanted to build something for him to grow up with, something he could be proud of, something that would be beyond the wildest dreams of most five year olds. Continue reading

Flights to Tampa, a Travel Writer Speaks Out on Tampa International Airport

A Perspective with a Window Seat

Flights to Tampa are a Travel Writer’s Best Kept Secret

Flights to Tampa

Photo by Tampabayisnewnow.com

Airports can be stressful. It seems like it’s a hustle from the moment you enter the building; dragging your luggage, reading the signs, trying to figure out where you are, where you’re going, and even getting bumped into along the way.  Air travel can really suck but, if you’re catching a flight to Tampa or leaving the Sunshine State, you’re on the bright side of the clouds.

As a travel writer with a great deal of air miles both domestic and international, I can say that I have a pretty novice opinion of airports in the United States. I was recently asked during a survey for Johnny Jet’s, Travel Style, “What is your favorite U.S. airport?” Answer: “Tampa International, I will take this to my grave.” Continue reading

The International Cryptozoology Museum Portland, Maine

Bigfoot, big passion…

The world’s only cryptozoology museum

Everyone loves Bigfoot  by Christa Thompson

Everyone loves Bigfoot by Christa Thompson

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I walked down Avon Street to the International Cryptozoology Museum. The only one of its kind, the museum showcases a bizarre, extraordinary and diligent collection of mythical and unusual creatures from around the world. In other words, if you’re looking for the Jersey Devil or Bigfoot, this is your best bet at finding them.

At first I wasn’t sold. I was not totally impressed with the museum itself, its artifacts crammed together like some sort of man-cave den, looked more like a collection of souvenirs acquired by founder and director Loren Coleman. However, I wasn’t so quick to give up either…and so I began to browse. Continue reading

Tolkien in England, Exploring Inspirational Locations of Author JRR Tolkien

Mapping Middle Earth on Earth

JRR Tolkien’s Inspirations from England

Tolkien England

Roos Church, near where Edith Tolkien danced for her husband and future inspiration.

Take a tour of the inspirational places behind the legendary stories of J.R.R. Tolkien. Contributing storyteller and Brit, William Bundy, describes a few locations on the Tolkien Trail in England. Part of the, Mapping Middle Earth series by the Fairytale Traveler. Continue reading